Rutherglen Glencairn Football Club

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Rutherglen Glencairn u21s 6 Harmony Row u21s 1

Saturday 20th February 2016 - Under 21 League Cup Semi Final

(Report by Peter Ferguson)

Harmony Row u21s 1

Craig Young in first half action.

Glencairn Under 21s' search for silverware on four fronts continued as they decisively defeated Harmony Row at Glasgow Green to move into the final of the League Cup, where they will face a showdown with league title rivals Tower Hearts. The result was never really in doubt from early in the match when the young Glens took a convincing grip on proceedings, and they never looked back as they scored six goals for the second week in a row.

There was almost an early shock for Glencairn, however, as Harmony Row almost took the lead inside the opening 60 seconds. A pass inside the left channel of the defence saw Matthew Feeney through on goal, but goalkeeper Chris Truesdale showed that he was switched on from the start, racing from his line to block with his legs.

Perhaps that was the wake-up call that the team needed, as they wasted no time in going on the offensive after that, and the opening goal arrived in the 5th minute. A corner from the left by Connor McGuiness was head flicked on by Dale Wallace and headed off the line by a defender, only for Anton Phinn to immediately return the ball into the danger area right onto the head of David Quinn, and he made no mistake with a bullet header from 8 yards.

David Quinn David Quinn

The tempo continued and the lead was doubled in the 8th minute. McGuiness was the architect this time with a defence-splitting pass from inside his own half, releasing Jason McArthur clean through on goal, and he cleverly side-stepped the goalkeeper before firing into the empty net for his 29th goal of the season in 28 appearances.

Jason McArthur (u21s) Jason McArthur

Harmony Row didn't know what had hit them as the young Glens continued to swarm forward, and it seemed like an avalanche of goals could be on the cards. Craig Young's pass released Quinn on the right in the 17th minute, and he cut in before firing over the crossbar.

However, the momentum was disrupted at the mid point of the first half as Harmony Row were handed a route back into the match. Young's clearance bounced off McGuiness and into the path of striker David Ramsay, who was tugged back by Young, and the referee correctly whistled for a penalty kick. Jamie Waddell stepped up to fire past Truesdale to make it 2-1.

The young Glens had switched off temporarily, and it showed again only a minute later when a cross from the right picked out Waddell on his own right in front of goal, and he was extremely unlucky to see his effort beat Truesdale but rebound from the post, with Njabulo Ndlovu clearing the danger of any rebound attempt.

Waddell was at the centre of the action again as Harmony Row sensed the opportunity to take advantage of their spell of pressure, and the striker went down inside the penalty area under challenges by Ross McConville and Anthony Dempsey, but the referee waved play on this time.

After some strong words from the coaching staff on the touchline, and some good on-field leadership from captain Ryan Bennett, the young Glens regained their composure and grip on the game as the half hour mark approached. Harmony Row no.1 Calum Easton produced a last-gasp save to save the blushes of defender Nathan Kavanagh as he sliced a clearance towards his own goal, but only seconds later Glencairn re-established their two-goal lead.

Anton Phinn's cross from the left picked David Quinn at the back post, and the big midfielder chested the ball down before firing decisively into the roof of the net to make the score 3-1 with his second goal of the match.

The match pattern reverted back to the earlier theme, Glencairn on the front foot and Harmony Row desperately trying to hang on to keep the match competitive. McArthur fired over the crossbar after good link play with Phinn on the edge of the penalty area, and McArthur then pulled a fine save out of Easton with a half-volley snap shot from 18 yards.

The match was effectively ended as a contest in the 38th minute when Glencairn made it 4-1. Phinn's incisive reverse pass completely fooled the defence and set up Dale Wallace, who took a touch and then fired past Easton from 12 yards.

Dale Wallace Dale Wallace

McArthur pulled another good save out of Easton after creating a shooting opportunity by cutting past two challenges. Waddell should have pulled a goal back for Harmony Row just before the interval after being set up by Ramsay, but his effort was weak and slipped wide of the target from right in front of goal.

Half time : 4-1

 Harmony Row u21s 2 Connor McGuiness and David Quinn battle for possession.

Harmony Row started the second half on the front foot, with substitute Chad Meechan firing over the bar from 20 yards, and then Kavanagh's cross picked out the head of Ramsay but he nodded the ball straight at Truesdale from 8 yards out.

Normal service was restored once again just before the hour mark, however, as Glencairn made it 5-1. Phinn's curling corner almost went straight into the net, Easton only able to slap it up in the air under his crossbar, and Dale Wallace was first to react to nod the ball over the line from close range.

Double first half goal scorer Quinn limped off just before the hour mark and was replaced on the right of midfield by Peter Copeland. More lovely link play by McArthur and Phinn ended with the latter's shot being parried round the post by Easton, who was keeping the scoreline from turning into a cricket score.

At the other end, Truesdale showed his powers of concentration by reacting brilliantly to keep out a flash header at the near post by Cameron Haddow after 61 minutes. Play flowed back to the other end, and Phinn started and finished a move which ended with another excellent diving save by Easton.

Phinn was clearly in the mood to score himself, and he danced past several challenges before chipping the ball over Easton, but the ball dropped just over the crossbar. With 11 minutes remaining there was a double change for Glencairn, with Mark McHendry and Josh McCorry replacing Dempsey and Ndlovu respectively. Shortly after this Danny Salah replaced Phinn.

Kavanagh went close for Harmony Row with a curled effort which flew just wide of the far post in the 81st minute. Two minutes later it was 6-1, as Copeland's cross from the right found its way through to Dale Wallace, who took a touch past his marker and smashed the ball into the roof of the net for a "perfect hat trick" of left foot, header and right foot finishes.

McArthur was denied again by Easton in stoppage time as the young Glens continued their relentless drive towards goal, but there were to be no more goals and the referee put Harmony Row out of their misery after only a minute of added time.

Co-managers Alex McArthur and Andy McFadyen were delighted with what they had watched, and Alex commented, "We've reacted really well to the Scottish Cup defeat, two big wins with and scoring six goals in each. The boys have shown a fair but of character, but we need to keep that going, we've won nothing yet."

Rutherglen Glencairn u21s :- Truesdale, Young, McConville, Dempsey (McHendry), Ndlovu (McCorry), Quinn (Copeland), McArthur, McGuiness, Wallace, Bennett, Phinn (Salah). (Subs not used - Conroy, Sproull.)

Harmony Row u21s :- Easton, Scott, Kavanagh, Watt, Gallagher, Wilson, Feeney, Gaddi, Waddell, Ramsay, Mulcahy. (Subs - Haddow, Jarvis, Reid, Martin, Meechan.)

Man of the match - (chosen by Stephen McArthur) Dale Wallace.

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